THE Brexit-backing boss of Wetherspoons has called time on the pub chain selling most European wines and beers – and customers don’t seem to mind.
The founder and chairman Tim Martin, 63, has gone through with his promise to ditch most drinks from European Union countries and focus more on ones from the UK and outside the EU.
Last year Weatherspoons said it was dropping drinks like French champagne and German beers but now appears to have gone further in its cull.
Out go brands like Staropramen from the Czech Republic and Denmark’s Tuborg as well as Spanish Rioja wine and Pinot Grigio from Italy.
They have been replaced by the Australian brand Hardys, Villa Maria from New Zealand and Trivento Malbec from Argentina.
Champagne and sparkling wines have already been replaced by ones from Australia and England and Germany’s Jagermeister has been moved aside for and English equivalent called Strika.
Some brands from the EU are still available in the chain’s 880 outlets, including a popular favourite Stella Artois.
Mr Martin is a passionate backer of Brexit and has often attacked the government for their handling of Britain’s exit from the European Union.
In 2016, before the country went to the polls for the historic vote, Wetherspoons printed thousands of pro-Brexit beer mats attacking the then Chancellor George Osborne over the referendum.
The pub’s customers appear to be largely unconcerned about the change in the drinks for sale.
Pensioner Peter Banks, 85, of Lewisham, south London, told The Mirror: I have noticed a change in the beers but if anything the beers have improved, but I do think they should have just left everything the way it was before.”
Helen Adams, 37, of Croydon, said: “It doesn’t matter to me but if every business was to stop selling beers and wines from the EU everyone in the UK would miss out.”
Tom Stainer, from the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “Wherever you stand on the Brexit debate, we hope both the Government and consumers will support local brewers, producers and pubs during this time of uncertainty.
“Many of our tax rates for pubs and brewers are actually set at a European level, so we hope the Government will use Britain’s departure from the EU as an opportunity to review that system.
“In particular, we’d like to see a lower rate of tax applied on beer sold on draught rather than in bottles or can, which would help keep prices down at the pub and encourage beer-drinkers to head back to their local.
“We’d also like to see consumers celebrate and support real ales, ciders and perries, which are inherently British products.
By choosing British beer and looking out for the British hops logo on your pint – which indicates the hops were also sourced in Britain – beer drinkers can actively support businesses close to home.”
A Wetherspoon spokesman said: “Whether people agree or disagree with Tim’s views, this shows he is a man of his words.
“This is just the start and over the next two years there will be more drinks available from across the world.”